In the spring of 2018, my love of birds reached a whole new level when I started keeping a life list. As of today, January 17, 2019, I have 116 birds. I know that’s not a lot compared to many birders, but I think it’s a pretty cool start considering it hasn’t even been a year yet. I’ve decided to start a year list for 2019 to see how many I can get just this year. So far this year, I’m up to 61.
According to the official Florida State Bird List from the Florida Ornithological Society, there are 525 species of birds that have been documented in Florida, ever. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commision says there are 196 species of breeding birds in Florida. I hope to reach a number somewhere around there! I may have to take a trip out west to find more next year. This year, I’ll focus on Florida!
I also started using eBird more regularly a week or so ago, and that adds another facet of excitement to the birding game! I’ve been submitting complete checklist every time I’m out birding, and that causes me to look and listen more closely so my list can be accurate. EBird is pretty amazing. Here’s a link for more info if you’re interested: https://ebird.org/about. They also send daily rare bird alerts via email if you’re interested. Last week, I got a notification that there was a yellow-headed blackbird nearby, in a grocery store parking lot of all places. I decided to just drive through and see what I could see, and there were about fifteen other people there with binoculars and cameras, wandering around the parking lot looking up into the trees. We had all been there about a half an hour looking, and people were starting to give up and go to their cars to leave. I decided to make one last loop around the parking lot in my car to see if I could spot him, when I saw a bright yellow bird head looking down at me from a tree branch! I was never so excited to see a bird! I pulled into a parking spot, grabbed my camera, and started shooting. Soon, we were surrounded by about twenty other birders, cameras in hands. That was such a fun experience! I look forward to seeing and documenting more rare birds in the future!
I’ll be sharing a bird photo every day over on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/birdsof2019/. This is in addition to my normal instagram at https://www.instagram.com/rh_photoadventures/ That’s where I share all of my photo adventures around Florida.
In addition to this big year birding adventure, I’ll be trying to visit as many of Florida’s state parks as I possibly can this year! Look for a post on the subject very soon!